Event Review by Ben Jenkins
Saturday March 15, 2014
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, San Diego
It felt like I was heading home as I joined the crowd streaming towards the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore fifteen minutes before the reading. Upon entering, I was greeted by an array of excited fans: elderly women, young teens, crocheting hipster college students, and everything in-between. The seating area was filled up, and probably had been for the better part of an hour. I milled around the front of the store, among the stacks of new releases and seasonal offerings. Everything with a green cover or the slightest mention of a leprechaun was situated under a rainbow in the St. Patrick’s Day section. An announcement that the reading would begin in five minutes drew my attention behind the counter, and I saw Patricia Briggs for the first time as she talked casually with the Mysterious Galaxy staff. She informed the crowd of fans that they would be waiting another five minutes so she “could have more time to buy books.”
I have only read one of Patricia Briggs’ works, a graphic novel Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf, but it was enough of an introduction for me to join the crowd and hear her read from her newest novel, Night Broken, which was released earlier in March as the latest installment in her Mercy Thompson Series.
Briggs playfully climbed atop a counter and sat cross-legged as she began the reading. She told us that she was going to bring in something new from the Shifting Shadows Anthology that she was working on, but her computer battery died, so instead we would hear her read part of a chapter from Night Broken. Briggs’ playful nature continued during the reading as she paused periodically to give us insights to her writing processes for various sections. Her good-natured humor shined throughout the reading and on the page.
Fifteen minutes into the reading, Briggs asked for questions, and the rapt audience transformed like some of her characters and became a clawing pack of nerds. Briggs took all questions with great enthusiasm.
When asked about how she came up with some of her scarier characters, Briggs informed the crowd she took the monsters from her dreams as a child, and wrote them as monsters that were still scary but “liked her.” When asked if one of her characters would ever have a baby, she announced that she thought about giving Anna and Charles a happy ending in the Alpha and Omega series by letting Anna have a child. Sadly, she told us, this would mean that the series would end because she couldn’t imagine Anna raising a child in that world.
Briggs gave some insight into the publishing process when a woman from the audience mentioned she thought the last Mercy Thompson Series novel ended abruptly. Briggs informed us that since the last page ended on a full-page, versus a half page, we subconsciously expected to turn the page and find more of the story.
Briggs also gave the audience an insider’s view of her writing process when she mentioned that in the editing portion, she reviewed each scene in her stories from the viewpoint of every character in that scene. She said that allowed her to make sure each scene was authentic and fit the story as a whole.
After about a half an hour, Briggs ended the Q&A portion out of concern for those of us standing in the back. Briggs’ reading and relationship with her fans was everything I’ve come to expect, and respect, from genre fiction authors. There is a personal connection with the individuals who buy and love the books. I can’t wait to begin reading Night Broken.
Patricia Briggs, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson series, lives in Washington State with her husband, children, and a small herd of horses. She has written 17 novels to date. For more information about Patricia Briggs and her marvelous novels, feel free to visit the author on the web at http://www.patriciabriggs.com